There is a lot of talk about the finances of the Lockout and the collective bargaining going on (or waiting to go on) between the players and owners. This is only right, since the money is the most important issue to the owners and players. They'll give lip service to an issue here or there, but for the most part it is all about how to split up the money.
Still, there's more broken in the NBA than just the CPA's pie charts. So I would like to start a mini-series on "fixing the NBA" in which I focus on issues that fall around the edges of the central money issue. This is stuff that I would like to see addressed in the new CBA after they've sorted the huge piles of money.
I'd like to start with a Bill Simmons suggestion that I wholeheartedly agree with. Depose Donald Sterling.
If anyone other than Donald Sterling owned the Clippers, the franchise would be worth twice as much money.19 He's squatting on a billion-dollar property the same way he squats on his Malibu lots — he's like a wealthy version of somebody on Hoarders. Hasn't the man done enough harm to warrant a legal intervention? How many times has he fired an employee, then refused to pay him and forced that person to chase the money in court? How many times have the Clippers made damaging trades just to save money? How many times has Sterling been accused of insulting minorities or even his own players? Bud Selig sucked it up and went after Frank McCourt's team, legal consequences be damned; why couldn't Stern do the same with Sterling? He's a dreadful owner, a disgrace to the league, and someone who knocks down the value of his franchise in half just by being alive. That's not enough grounds?
Amen. It is a shame you can't fire owners, but you can sure do everything you can to make bad ones go away. There has to be accountability.
I'm no L.A. transplant like Simmons living in the enemy's back yard, but I wouldn't mind seeing the Lakers sweat a bit with a legit team competing for eyeballs and attention in SoCal. Besides, we're talking about the greater good of the game here. It can't be good to have a universally detested owner in place.
It would seem that the only factors weighing against this move are a) disinterest by the general public (out of sight out of mind) and b) precedent. Other owners might not want to see anyone thrown out for any reason lest they face the same fate for some reason. Tossing out one guy from an elite club raises the question of "where is the line?" At what point has someone gone too far?
Still, if Stern can play judge and jury with the players (with fines and suspension), the least the owners can do is elect someone (it doesn't have to be Stern) to police them to maintain some checks and balances.